A Russian opposition activist has been found dead in the Netherlands after being refused political asylum, the Dutch justice ministry confirmed on Thursday.
Aleksander Dolmatov, arrested last May during a demonstration opposing president Vladimir Putin, applied for political asylum in the Netherlands in June, saying he feared for his life.
Dolmatov was found dead in a Dutch detention centre early on Thursday morning. He was sent to the centre on Wednesday to await deportation after his application for asylum failed.
A spokesman for junior justice minister Fred Teeven told the NRC he had left a note for his mother, but did not go into details about why his application for asylum had been rejected.
The spokesman also said staff at the detention centre did not see any signs that Domatov intended to kill himself. However, based on earlier reports, he was being held in a section for asylum seekers with psychiatric problems, the spokesman said.
According to the BBC, the Dutch acting ambassador in Moscow, Onno Elderenbosch, said it was clear from a suicide note that Dolmatov’s death was not triggered by his asylum disappointment.
Hundreds of people gathered outside the Dutch embassy in Moscow on Friday to commemorate Domatov. Several laid flowers, Nos television said.
The man’s lawyer told Nos that Domatov should not have been moved to a deportation centre because on Friday he had lodged an appeal against the rejection of his asylum request.
He also told the broadcaster the immigration service had rejected the application, saying Domatov did not face a serious risk if he was sent back to Russia.
Russian activist applies for asylum in the Netherlands